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Triton Fethead with a tube condenser?

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Triton Fethead with a tube condenser?

Postby russianpolecat » Tue Feb 20, 2018 11:24 am

Hi, I've a Nady 1050 tube condenser that I have to level boost at my soundcard pre stage, the problem being that this brings out the room more than I'd like. I emailed Cloud Microphones regarding the Cloudlifter, and got an email back saying the Cloudlifter would work in this scenario. The Triton Fethead is effectively very similar as a product as far as I'm aware but is considerably cheaper. Would this be an alternative to the Cloudlifter (presumably going into the soundcard pre) or am I missing something obvious? I've emailed Triton but haven't recieved a response.

Thanks in advance,

Chris
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Re: Triton Fethead with a tube condenser?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Tue Feb 20, 2018 11:43 am

russianpolecat wrote:Hi, I've a Nady 1050 tube condenser that I have to level boost at my soundcard pre stage, the problem being that this brings out the room more than I'd like. I emailed Cloud Microphones regarding the Cloudlifter, and got an email back saying the Cloudlifter would work in this scenario.

If the problem is too much ambient room sound then that's the problem you need to deal with. It will make no difference where you introduce the extra mic gain -- with the interface preamp or with a cascade gain stage like the Fethead or Cloudlifter -- the ambient room sound will still be raised in level beyond acceptibility.

Cascade gain stages are intended to overcome the problem of a preamp with insufficient gain, or one which introduces too much electronic noise at high gain. They won't do anything useful to reduce ambient room sound that's already been picked up by the microphone.

So... your real options are:

1. Treat the room acoustics to reduce the ambient noise at source.
2. Pick a different polar pattern to exclude more ambient room sound.
3. Work the mic closer to improve the ratio of direct/ambient sound.
4. Or employ a combination of all three.

Option 1 is by far the best route, but it needn't involve permanent room modifications. Hanging a make-shift acoustic absorber (like a large king-size duvet) behind and around the performer can make a massive improvement, for example.

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Re: Triton Fethead with a tube condenser?

Postby russianpolecat » Tue Feb 20, 2018 12:18 pm

Hi Hugh, thanks for the reply. I should’ve mentioned it in my post but I’ve tried to improve issues by doing exactly as you suggest - I’ve hung up a couple of duvets in a v shape on a makeshift frame to try to take the room out of it, and it improves things to a certain extent, however I’m having to boost the level on the pre a lot simply to get a usable level (the waveforms are tiny). Hence why I thought maybe the Fethead could help. Maybe there is an issue with my power supply or something else because as I understand it tube mics don’t usually have an output issue?

Chris
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Re: Triton Fethead with a tube condenser?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Tue Feb 20, 2018 1:30 pm

russianpolecat wrote:I should’ve mentioned it in my post but I’ve tried to improve issues by doing exactly as you suggest - I’ve hung up a couple of duvets in a v shape on a makeshift frame to try to take the room out of it, and it improves things to a certain extent...

Good. You're heading in the right direction then. If it's still sounding roomy, add more behind and to the sides of the mic, and maybe even above and below in extremis.

I’m having to boost the level on the pre a lot simply to get a usable level (the waveforms are tiny).

Okay... Most DAWs allow you to expand the amplitude display scale to make the waveforms appear larger if it's just a visual issue. I normally track with the signal averaging around -20dBFS and peaks ideally no higher than -10dBFS. The headroom helps to make things sound nicer and makes recording and mixing a lot easier.

Hence why I thought maybe the Fethead could help.

A Fethead (or similar) will raise the signal level from the mic before it hits the preamp, which means you can run your preamp with less gain (which can sometimes reduce electronic noise) or allow higher overall gain (useful if your preamp has a very limited gain range). However, your first post implied that you could achieve sufficient gain by turning up your preamp, and you didn't mention an electronic (preamp) noise problem, so I don't think a FetHead would bring anything particularly useful to the party.

However, adding gain via whatever means will inherently also raise the audibility of the room's ambient noise-floor -- and that's what you appeared to be complaining about.

So, it seems to me that you have two separate and unrelated issues: (a) too much room tone in the recording, and (b) too small a waveform display.

The first can only really be dealt with by sorting out the practical room acoustics, as already discussed.

The second comes down to your expectations and working practices, and/or the DAW display configuration.

Maybe there is an issue with my power supply or something else because as I understand it tube mics don’t usually have an output issue?

They don't, and neither does yours. The specs suggest a 16mV/Pa sensitivity which is pretty much typical for the type. I'm not sure what you're recording, but I'd expect you'd need around 50dB +/-10dB of gain for anything from close speech to loud vocals -- which is comfortably within the standard range of most preamps.

Without wishing to offend at all, can I establish that you are using the right side of the mic's capsule? I ask because I have come across other users complaining of excessive room tone only to discover that they were signing into the mic off-axis (either into the top of a side-address mic, or the back of a cardioid pattern). It's an easy mistake to make if you're unfamiliar with this type of mic -- and I note that the handbook doesn't actually explain where the front of the mic is! For the record you should be singing into the side (not the top/end) with the mic's model number and company name facing you. Again, apologies if I'm preaching to the conversant, but best to rule out the simple things first! ;)

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Re: Triton Fethead with a tube condenser?

Postby russianpolecat » Tue Feb 20, 2018 3:18 pm

Hi Hugh, thanks for the advice. You may be right about the DAW issue, it's something I'll have to look at to see if the average level is indeed as it should be and it's just a visual thing. Likewise with the room - I shall attempt to add more material to dampen it down further to see if that makes the desired difference, after all, as you say there shouldn't be an issue with the PSU from the specs, and there has been some improvement with the duvets.

Again, thanks for your advice :)

Chris

P.S. by the way, yes I'm singing into it correctly! I already tested that theory! :)
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Re: Triton Fethead with a tube condenser?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Tue Feb 20, 2018 3:40 pm

russianpolecat wrote:P.S. by the way, yes I'm singing into it correctly! I already tested that theory! :)

:D :thumbup:
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Re: Triton Fethead with a tube condenser?

Postby ef37a » Wed Feb 21, 2018 10:43 am

Hugh, SIGNING into a mic will require VAST sensitivity and whacko amounts of gain!

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Re: Triton Fethead with a tube condenser?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Wed Feb 21, 2018 10:54 am

:tongue:
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Re: Triton Fethead with a tube condenser?

Postby blinddrew » Wed Feb 21, 2018 11:04 am

An appropriate and dignified response :D
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Re: Triton Fethead with a tube condenser?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Wed Feb 21, 2018 11:17 am

:angel:
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Re: Triton Fethead with a tube condenser?

Postby John Willett » Thu Feb 22, 2018 2:00 pm

russianpolecat wrote:The Triton Fethead is effectively very similar as a product as far as I'm aware but is considerably cheaper. Would this be an alternative to the Cloudlifter (presumably going into the soundcard pre) or am I missing something obvious? I've emailed Triton but haven't recieved a response.

I know that Hugh has already answered you in detail.

Just to say that Triton Audio do make very high quality stuff that I would be happy to use myself.

Your lack of response from Triton is likely down to it being a small company and both the top people have had personal problems recently which is delaying their response times (I do know what it's all about, but not something I would want to post on a public forum).
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